In several countries in Europe, tuition fees for international students are higher than the fees for national students. It is important that ESU stands against those practices, as all students, with no differentiation in origin, should be considered equal.
Starting in 2016, the maximum fee that international non- EU students have to pay to study in French-speaking universities in Belgium rose to 12 525€. The first step was universities rising these fees to 4 175€ for students from so-called developing countries, when they only paid half before.
This measure goes against the ideal of accessibility to education that ESU stands for. There is also a risk that HEI will apply such a rise for all students in the future. Access to higher education is a basic human right and this type of measure is attacking this right. Limiting the access to knowledge in a world of North-South inequalities is an obstacle to constructing a world around the value of solidarity. The production and the diffusion of knowledge is a non-negotiable condition to creating critical-thinking citizens able to cease our transitioning world changing dynamics. Societies’ emancipation will only be possible if knowledge is shared. International students are also fundamental to the formation of Belgian students. An opening to the world and mixing persons from different backgrounds are the roots of a tolerant world. The presence of international students directly contributes to the discovery of others and to cultural diversity. This interculturality is a wealth that cannot be sold.
Another example of unequal treatment of international students is the situation in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Starting with the 2017 winter term, the federal state government of Baden-Württemberg in Germany is taking tuition fees from students outside of the European Union. The fees will not be used to finance the higher education; in fact, they will be used to curb the budget deficit, which is particularly damming. ESU stands for an inclusive education and those fees oppose this goal. Education is a human right and should be accessible to everyone, be it at higher education institutions or otherwise. The fact that “non-EU-Citizens” should be the ones paying the highest fees simply is discrimination. No human chooses where he or she are born. To use the nationality of individuals as criteria to determine if one has access to higher education deserves condemnation. ESU stands with the demonstrations against tuition fees for „non-EU-citizens“, whether in Germany, Belgium or elsewhere.
Give these examples, ESU thinks that international students fees should not be higher than tuition fees of national students, and that national students tuition fees must not be raised, they must be abolished, education must be free and accessible to all.